Water to be discharged in 12 water retention areas on May 1

Under the instruction of the government, the Royal Irrigation Department will start on May 1 releasing water from major dams into 10 provinces of the lower Chao Phraya river basin in order to speed up the main rice crop cultivation by one month ahead of schedule.

Government spokesman Lt-Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd said Saturday that this would be the second year in a row that the main crop rice cultivation season would be moved forward by one month after the first trial was proven to be very successful.

The water will be discharged from dams into 12 water retention areas in ten provinces namely Nakhon Sawan, Chainat, Lop Buri, Saraburi, Sing Buri, Ang Thong, Ayutthaya, Suphan Buri, Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi covering a total area of 1.1 million rai.

He explained that this measure would resolve the problem of flooding which caused substantial damage to rice crops each year.  With the release of the water, major dams will have more capacity to store rain water during the rainy season and hence ease the risk of flooding in the Chao Phraya river basin from excess water to be released from dams, he said.

Crop damage from flooding last year was comparatively less than that recorded in 2011 although the amount of rainfall for the two years was almost the same, he added.

About 1,500 million cubic metres of water are expected to be stored in the 12 water retention areas which is equivalent to double of the volume of water in the Pasak Cholasit dam.